Just finished reading an item by Harry Enten over at FiveThirtyEight headlined: Republicans Have Regained the Foreign Policy Edge. The main content of the article is that currently 46% of Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy compared to 35% for Democrats. The numbers have been trending in the Republicans' direction since mid-2011. Democrats had been on top up to that time since 2005. Prior to then Republicans had a long period of dominance.

I don't doubt that the data support the conclusions presented. But there's something about the article that kind of grates on me that I'd like to discuss.

Clearly, I find the results unpleasant. But here on the left blogs, facing unpleasant news could almost be said to be our stock in trade. And though we may deplore the reality reported, our reaction is rarely "shoot the messenger".

What kind of galls me is a the last half-sentence:

... the door is open for the GOP’s ideas on foreign policy.
My reaction is: What ideas?

I mean what foreign-policy ideas has the GOP presented over the last twenty years beyond:

  • arrogance and superiority towards our allies;
  • disregard for treaties and international law;
  • use of military force without forethought of consequences;
  • and a general bellicosity towards those who annoy us?

Ideas which when they were implemented in the previous administration did so much to create many of the international crises that are causing problems now.

And the proof of this is the parade of characters preening under the media spotlight now.

I know that FiveThirtyEight prides itself on being non-partisan. And I can respect that when done conscientiously. But there's a kind of faux-objectivity that pretends to find substance where there is none, which acts as a kind of poison in our public policy debates.

I don't doubt that part of the reason Republicans have so much cred with the American public on foreign policy is because people who have implemented so much ruinous policy are given such an uncritical welcome in our public forums.

Am I overreacting?

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